Front-line paclitaxel–vinorelbine versus paclitaxel–carboplatin in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: a randomized phase III trial

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This randomized phase III trial of advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was designed to compare a standard treatment such as carboplatin (CRP)–paclitaxel (PCT) with a new combination, vinorelbine (VRL)–PCT—two agents acting in microtubules.

Patients and methods

Three hundred and sixty patients (stage IIIa, IIIb and IV) were included and evaluated for response rate, survival and toxicity. Arm A patients were treated with the control combination of CRP 6 AUC and PCT 175 mg/m2 repeated every 3 weeks for six cycles, and arm B with the investigational combination of VRL 25 mg/m2 and PCT 135 mg/m2 repeated every 2 weeks for nine cycles. The patients were well balanced with respect to gender, disease stage and performance status. Arm A received 849 cycles (mean 4.59 per patient) and arm B 951 cycles (mean 5.39 per patient).


Complete and partial response rates were 45.95% and 42.86% for arms A and B, respectively. Median survival was 11 and 10 months, 1-year survival 42.7% and 37.85% and 2-year survival 10.12% and 19% for arms A and B, respectively. Toxicity was similar in all patients, except for neutropenia, which was significantly greater in arm B.


PCT combined with VRL produces similar (non-significant) response rates, survival and toxicity (except for neutropenia, as noted above) to standard CRP–PCT treatment in untreated advanced-stage NSCLC.

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